It’s been a strange, strange season for Everton. The Blues are on their third manager of the season, have been widely panned for playing some terrible football despite spending a serious amount of cash over the last three transfer windows and yet are sitting in ninth place in the Premier League table. Seventh place is just two points away, and there remains the small chance that just like last season, finishing ‘best of the rest’ could actually provide a back door into Europe again.
What are your thoughts about Everton making a go for the seventh spot and getting back to the Europa League next season? Is the tournament an expensive and draining distraction, or the only way for the Blues to develop their pedigree as they look to break into the top six?
Despite the disaster that was Everton’s Europa League campaign this season, I believe finishing seventh makes perfect sense again. First and foremost, it’s hard to believe that the club could be as ill-prepared for it next year as they were this year, that would be nigh on impossible. Another tilt at European football would not only bring a sense of consistency to the squad and help them find that League/European rhythm that the big clubs have but it would also mean another year of European gate receipts and TV money for the club, as well as the exposure that being in a European Cup competition brings. That is how the club should be looking at it.
The short answer is yes. Everton’s struggles this season have been down to their poor planning rather their participation in the Europa League. If they want to continue progressing as a club then regular European participation is a must. The Thursday/Sunday routine isn’t ideal, but getting used to juggling European and domestic competition is just one small step towards closing the gap on the top six. Then there is the added exposure of being in Europe that can only help the club’s profile as well as the extra cash from gate receipts and TV/prize money. It’s a no-brainer for me.
Of course I want Everton to make it back to Europe. It’s where big clubs belong and everything about Everton reflects the ambition and resources of a big club. This shouldn’t be a debate, really. What’s the point of spending all this money if we are going to say we don’t want to end up in European places?
Europa League for Everton is absolutely a good thing for them and something that would really help self esteem around the club. I think it is extremely important that the team makes sure they are solidified in that 7 spot for now to show the rest of the league that they are currently the best outside of the Top 6 year in and year out and are ready to pounce on those teams come next season. It would also get the players used to playing that schedule every year and make it more of an expectation to make Europe each season instead of a hope. It would be an important step forward in a season where it feels like the team have been taking many steps backwards.
Thanks, but no thanks. Qualifying via a seventh-place finish would once again mean joining the competition in the second qualifying round -- essentially cutting in half an already World Cup shortened preseason. More pertinently though, I simply don’t trust Everton management and ownership to assemble a squad with Premier League quality and Europa League depth over the course of this offseason. Upgrades at three or four positions in the starting XI are needed to make a serious run at the top six next year -- do you trust Moshiri, Kenwright, and Walsh to add those players and depth players to replace guys like Kevin Mirallas and the injured James McCarthy -- especially if they’re getting help from Sam Allardyce or in the process of replacing him?
The Toffees are better off reinforcing the first XI, letting youngsters like Nikola Vlasic, Beni Baningime, and Ademola Lookman serve as the squad depth, and using next offseason to improve the depth of the squad, after having given the young players a fair shot in league play.
Yeah, I think so. Generally your default setting as a fan is for the team to finish as high as possible, in the absence of any special arguments to the contrary. I think any such arguments in this case are pretty weak. The Europa League can be a distraction, sure, but is it going to be the thing that prevents Everton from breaking into the top 4? No, they’re not good enough for that, even in the best case scenario. So may as well do the best you can, try to get into Europe, and go from there.
Brian L -
Yes. Clubs should always have ambition and striving for a 7th place finish is showing ambition. Yes, this year wasn’t pleasant, but everyone seems to forget just how big the hole in the lineup was replacing Lukaku. If Everton can remain in 7th and make the Europa League after losing Lukaku it shows the squad has some depth. It hasn’t been pretty and it has certainly been frustrating, but it provides a solid foundation. And frankly if Everton is actually going to be trying to compete for a Champions League berth they can’t be afraid of a few extra matches. Wanting to, “make things easier,” isn’t going to do the club any good in the long term. It may not be pretty, but it can’t be worse than this year and I’d rather force the club to plan for multiple competitions and an increased level of competitiveness now than mess around and stagnate for another season or two.
It would be easy to formulate a “no” answer to this question - Everton don’t need another shortened preseason that results in horrendous early-season form and the failure to properly integrate new signings.
However, I cannot abide by the idea that the club should not be as successful as possible on the pitch, and making Europe two seasons in a row would represent a measure of progress, no matter how small. Right now, the Europa League is Everton’s best route into the Champions League, and European competition in general is a good way to start measuring up to the big six.
Squad depth and quality would again be an issue, but it’s somewhat heartening to know that a handful of young players have developed this season in ways that could see them become more useful in Europe - Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Jonjoe Kenny specifically.
Finishing seventh two years in a row is not exactly what Evertonians have envisioned for the Moshiri era, but it would be some consistency. After this season, I’d welcome it.
Well, I would like to see Everton make the Europa League so they can show that next season will be different and they will get better results (hopefully)!
Classic case of head versus heart here. Head says this dysfunctional organization needs sweeping clean, and gaining a European football spot could cloud Farhad Moshiri’s judgement when he needs to be sacking Steve Walsh and Sam Allardyce.
My blue heart though quivers at the thought of wishing this club even the slightest ill. Besides, we want to develop a presence and challenge the top six, and successive years of playing in Europe will help develop that pedigree and give the squad the much-needed experience.